[In Craig Calhoun, ed. Sociology in America: The ASA Centennial History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Essay©Howard Winant, 2006.]


The Dark Side of the Force: One Hundred Years of the Sociology of Race

Howard Winant


What was the racial scene at the time of the American Sociological Society's founding in 1905? How race-conscious and racially organized was the world the founding "fathers" saw at that moment? How racialized were US social ties and identities, and those of the 1905 intellectual world, broadly conceived? On a general level these questions answer themselves. Of course race was present, as present (at least) as it is today in US everyday life and social structure. Race has always been present, indeed foundational, since the earliest moments of modernity.

But what race meant in 1905 is less certain. How has that meaning changed, how has it developed, and how has it been challenged as it came down to the present day? To what extent has sociology influenced general conceptions of race, and to what extent has the field itself been shaped by racial meanings and racial conflicts? These questions require our consideration; they are the subject of this essay.

As a sociohistorical concept race connects to numerous familiar themes: the body and its social meaning, territoriality, (in)equality, identity/difference, collectivity and politicization. But this has not always been the case. One hundred years ago the physiognomic, corporeal dimension of race was the dominant theme in nascent sociological thought. Although an alternative view was beginning to take shape -- one that conceived of racial difference as largely sociocultural -- the idea of race as a political phenomenon, a matter of movement activity and policy formation, went virtually unheard in 1905. Race was not viewed as a political issue except by opponents of the disciplinary consensus like W.E.B. Du Bois.[1]


At the turn of the 20th century biologistic views of race were in command. Evolutionism had taken over. "Race-war" was a source of anxiety to early sociologists: race was about migration and fertility, "breeding," and human genetics as it was then understood. It was also about development, though this too was conceived in a biological way. Empire and colonialism were comprehended and justified (in Europe most centrally, but elsewhere as well) as the logical outcomes of racial differences among the world's peoples. Non-Europeans, seen as backward and uncivilized, were thought to need and benefit from the uplifting forces of colonial rule.

In the US it was seen as "natural" that the black South and Native American peoples would be subdued by the "more advanced" white races. The Plessy decision had recently been handed down (in 1896). What we would now call Òethnic cleansingÓ of indigenous people (seen most centrally in the 1887 Dawes Act) had been completed; it was widely supported as ÒcivilizingÓ these supposedly backward and savage nations (or tribes). Tensions on the Mexican border were merely ÒnormalÓ in 1905, but would soon intensify with the revolutionÕs onset in 1910; the border states and Southwest were rife with anti-Mexican racism (Almaguer 1994). The restriction of Asian immigration (the Chinese Exclusion Act was reenacted in 1904; the ÒGentlemanÕs AgreementÓ with Japan would be concluded in 1907) was considered "natural" as well, for Asians were viewed as unassimilable aliens in America: their presence en masse so threatening (especially to labor) that their widespread influx could not be tolerated.

On the other hand a new imperial age was dawning: the "little brown people" (as McKinley called them)[2] of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba were now ripe for US colonization. This too was "natural," a patent continuation of the expansionism of the 19th century. Not only would the US prosper from heightened control of the Caribbean, the isthmus of Panama, and the Pacific rim, but the areas thus subjected would gain as well: they would be civilized and Christianized by imperial activity.[3]

In 1905 race was as much a global issue as it was a US one. Colonial resources and labor fed, clothed, and housed the imperial countries that exploited their riches. In the Congo King Leopold's massacres continued unimpeded, a fact reported in detail by Robert E. Park (not yet installed at the University of Chicago) and by George Washington Williams, another pioneering journalist/sociologist of race (Hochschild 1998). ÒSemper novi quid ex Africa!Ó Du Bois repeated in his analysis of ÒThe African Roots of the WarÓ (1995 [1915]). Imperial rivalries shaped international relations, an arena in which the US was a newcomer, albeit a formidable one. On the Russian front, the Japanese defeated the Czar in the Pacific in 1905, and the first Russian revolution erupted that same year; it featured strikes, mutinies (on the Potemkin and elsewhere), and government troops shooting down unarmed demonstrators in the streets of St. Petersburg.[4] These events all had racial dimensions.

These were but some of the main events that shaped the sociopolitical context in which the founding sociologists were working. Although they were necessarily subject to the Òcommon-senseÓ prevailing at the field's founding moments, they were far from wholly subservient to it. To some of the fieldÕs Òfounding fathersÓ like Sumner and Giddings race was a matter of human biological nature, instinctual, Òhardwired.Ó It was an intractable matter, a question of evolution, not sociality. But other leading sociologists like Albion Small -- the founding editor of the American Journal of Sociology Ð had published critical appraisals of what we would now call ÒracismÓ since before the American Sociological SocietyÕs founding in 1905. In his 1980 assessment of the 20th-century sociology of race, Thomas Pettigrew noted that Òcritical work is in the minority throughoutÓ the whole arc of mainstream sociological writing on the subject (Pettigrew 1980, xxv). But challenges to the received wisdom were still present from the first in such publications as the AJS. These critical reappraisals of the received racial wisdom included contributions by such vital figures as W.I. Thomas, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, W.E.B. Du Bois, Monroe Work, and various writers associated with Jane Addams[5] and ChicagoÕs Hull House (Deegan 2002). Still, in 1905 and for a long time thereafter, the sociology of race took shape almost exclusively as a conversation among whites, even though this required the marginalization of W.E.B. Du Bois, who was not only the founder of the field in its modern, empirical, and theoretically sophisticated form, but also arguably the founder of modern American sociology tout court. [6]

The origins of American sociology considerably predate the founding of the American Sociological Society in 1905.  Just as in Europe the field developed to interpret onrushing social change, so too sociology arose in the US: in response to pressing demand for new social knowledge. In France sociology was invented during the era of Comte and de Tocqueville as a "positive science of society," a tool to explain industrialization, the downfall of absolutism, and colonial war.[7] In the US sociology arose in response to racial upheaval and the crisis of the slave system.  The onset and intensification of US convulsions over racial slavery roughly paralleled the European transition from absolutism to democratic rule, as well as the trajectory of industrialization.  The Civil War was among other things a semi-revolutionary battle to overthrow absolutism in its American incarnation, as Du Bois argued (see below).  So it should come as no surprise that in the US the nascent field found in the racial problematic some of its earliest and most foundational explanatory tasks.[8]

In 1873 Herbert Spencer's The Study of Sociology crossed the Atlantic to the US. Spencer, a contemporary of Darwin,[9] asserted that a racial instinct was crucial to human evolution, thus joining a long list of taxonomists whose preoccupation was the racial ranking of human groups. SpencerÕs influence was crucial in launching US academic sociology; the title of Spencer's first book (Social Statics), was a phrase he had borrowed from Comte.

But even Spencer's was not the first sociological voice to make itself heard. In the US the sociology of race had predated the arrival of Spencer's ideas. Societal transformations that commenced with the rise of abolitionism, continued through the Civil War and its horrors, and were perpetuated by the partial emancipation and then virtual reenslavement of southern Blacks, provided the earliest demand in the US for something called "sociology." The first avowed US sociologists anteceded the American Sociological Society's debut by more than half a century; they were defenders or apologists for slavery, intellectuals like Henry Hughes (Hughes 1854; see also Lyman 1985; Fredrickson 1971), George Fitzhugh, as well as critics of the institution like Hinton Rowan Helper (Wish, ed. 1960). HughesÕs 1854 tract -- pro-slavery, agrarian, anti-industrialist, and at its core romantic -- was the first to use the term ÒsociologyÓ in the US. When Du Bois in 1935 interpreted the Civil War as the second stage of the American revolution, the completion of the transition from absolutism to democracy in the United States, he was linking the political sociology of slavery and abolition to that of European empire and the industrial revolution.[10]

So there were direct lines connecting early US sociology to racial matters. The ranks of both advocates and critics of racial slavery included self-described sociologists, because -- as in Europe -- the process of socioeconomic development and the ferocious conflicts it generated demanded explanation, both at the elite and mass levels. Racial conflict played a parallel role -- that of generating a "great transformation" (pace Polanyi) in the US -- to the one played by the downfall of absolutism and onset of capitalism in Europe. Racial slavery and native conquest and slaughter displayed an absolutism all their own, of course. But beyond that the rise of capitalism also followed an expropriative policy toward lives and labor and land -- some of Polanyi's "fictitious commodities" (2001 [1944]) -- in the US. Du Bois saw a resemblance here with that of Marx's "primitive accumulation," and indeed so did Marx.[11] In the US this process was greatly shaped by race, since substantial conflict and confusion surrounded the race/class distinction there. For example, building on Du Bois, Roediger examines the paradoxical identities of white workers in the antebellum US: were they "freemen" or "servants"? Since the category of "servant" described enslaved blacks, white men resisted it. Especially in the Jeffersonian, southern tradition where whiteness conferred the status of "master" -- i.e., self-possessing, "yeoman," property-owning, citizen -- no honorable white male could have a master over him; no white could be a servant. Yet propertlyess whites could not avoid a sort of US "enclosure" in the developing capitalist system: this was the making of the American working class, so to speak. Only by reinforcing racial distinctions -- through which becoming a worker meant joining the class of masters, the white men -- could the opprobrium of enslavement be avoided (Roediger 1991).[12]


So what constitutes the sociology of race anyway? No positivisms of any type will allow us to answer this question, any more than old travellers' accounts or travestied applications of Darwinian concepts[13] would do. To grasp the sociologies of race (and "racial studies" more broadly understood as well) proposed over the last century and down to the present is to understand the field genealogically. Here I survey the trajectory of the sociology of race over the last hundred years by means of a discussion of the rise and fall of four racial paradigms within the field: the biologistic paradigm, the pragmatist paradigm, the structural-functionalist/civil rights paradigm, and the social movement v. neoconservative paradigm.

These four ÒmomentsÓ or episodes in the recent history of the field were deeply linked to broader sociopolitical trends. In this account the developing sociology of race is seen as a series of competing and episodic efforts both to contain political conflict over race and to foment it.

Politically the field may be divided, like Gaul, in three parts: mainstream, insurgent, and reactionary. Broadly speaking, mainstream sociological approaches to race have sought to explain and help contain upsurges in the ongoing racial conflicts that characterize US society; insurgent approaches have endeavored to explain those challenges in order to advance them; reactionary sociologies of race have tried to explain these challenges in order to reverse them. When threats and disruptions affecting society-wide -- and disciplinary -- understandings of the meaning of race have grown too formidable, too dangerous to ignore, the field of sociology has been forced to respond. When race riots, racially-based mass mobilizations, and race-related opposition to established political leaderships have confronted the US status quo too fiercely, sociological research on the subject of race has ramped up. Continuing racial inequalities have been noted, explanatory accounts developed, and policy reforms advocated. That has been, mutatis mutandis, the mainstream sociological approach to race.

Insurgent sociologies of race arise from time to time in alliance with these same challenges: radical, nationalist, and egalitarian voices have repeatedly made themselves heard, most notably in the post-WWII period. The field's allegiances and commitments are typically called into question by insurgent positions within it. Racial challenges are often linked to global tensions, to parallel political issues like class and gender conflict, and to crises of American identity and purpose. In the post-WWII era, for example, racial crisis intersected with Cold War issues, anticolonial and antiwar movements, the rise of Òsecond-waveÓ feminism, and an intense period of soul-searching over national identity and public morality.

Reactionary approaches to race are also common responses to racial conflict. Intellectual tendencies considered dead and buried have a habit of resurfacing in respect to race. For example, biologistic accounts and religious explanations of racial difference and inequality, as well as appeals to racial nationalism and nativism, have frequently re-emerged at times of heightened racial conflict. These positions also exhibit global linkages and affinities with parallel political universes: in the heyday of eugenics biologistic racism spanned the globe; the rise of fascism and its easy articulation with traditional US white supremacy is another familiar example; racial reaction, homophobia, anti-feminism, and anti-communism go together nicely as well. In the sociology of race these positions typically take the form of condemnation of government interventionism and celebration of racial laissez-faire (Òbenign neglect,Ó etc.), calls for more vigorous law enforcement, and victim-blaming.

Race has always been a deeply political subject, whether or not it was recognized as such in sociology. Hence mainstream writers, radical egalitarians, and reactionaries have time and again deployed all the theoretical and empirical resources they could muster in their efforts to reformulate the enigma of race in US society. But for all the significance of racial politics, sociological approaches to race have been driven by other influences as well: our own rationalistic impulses, our hunger for scientific status, and our sense of political and moral obligation have forced us continually to reinvent the sociology of race, in the process recurring to ideas that had been thought discredited, and returning to refight old battles once again. As much as the movements, identities, and social relationships studied within the field of sociology, the discipline itself has periodically been a zone of contention.

So the field of sociology is necessarily part of the problem it is trying to explain. The sociology of race has been severely criticized for its "failure of perspective," as two well-known books on the subject were subtitled (Lyman 1972; McKee 1993). The field has also been seen as progressing, however unevenly, away from its own racism and toward a more scientific as well as tendentially more egalitarian perspective (Pettigrew, ed. 1980).[14] Spokespersons for the organized discipline of sociology have frequently sought to foster racial reformism in US society at large: in this regard just consider the names of various post-WWII sociological "schools of thought" about race: assimilationism, pluralism, race relations, multiculturalism. Yet reformism is better understood as incorporation and absorption of conflict than as conflict resolution. That is the meaning of GramsciÕs term Òhegemony.Ó

From the vantage-point of a centuryÕs intellectual experience, we can see that each of these three politically-oriented ÒperspectivesÓ Ð- the mainstream, insurgent, and reactionary approaches -- has proved inadequate in the face of a set of racial conditions (not problems but fundamental structures) endemic not only to the US but to the Òmodern world-systemÓ as a whole.

In the roughly diachronic account that follows, I address the conditions in which studies have been carried out and theories elaborated in the sociology of race. No attempt is made systematically to consider the literature; that would be impossible anyway in this space. Rather I provide a sort of periodized conceptual history, a genealogy, of the sociology of race. Basing my approach on the claim that social thought is "demand-driven," I begin by discussing the biologistic paradigm: the theoretical formulations and research frameworks on view in the early sociology of race. From that point forward, I make bold to say, the field has gone through a series of crackups, a sequence of periodic re-formulations and re-searches, reiteratively trying to make sense of race. At each crisis-point the contradiction between the dominant sociological paradigm of race and the larger explanatory ÒworkÓ that paradigm was required to perform became too great, too explosive. Under these conditions the field retreated into a confused interregnum of sorts while a new paradigm was framed, usually on the basis of the radical criticisms that had subsisted at the margins of the discipline before the paradigmatic crisis struck with full force. Sometimes too, reactionary critics have been able to intervene in the field, forcing a sociological Òretreat from raceÓ when the going got too rough.

Between crisis-points, critical standpoints have developed in semi-independence. This claim is particularly true of insurgent approaches, but applies as well to reactionary views. Under ÒnormalÓ conditions in the discipline, the mainstream paradigm rules; while contending views may be marginalized they are not entirely in abeyance. Critics are concerned with sociopolitical anomalies beneath the racial radar of the sociological biens pensants of the day. When crises occur and a moment of paradigm shift approaches -- which is often not a moment at all but a more gradual breakdown in established sociological Òways of seeingÓ race -- these alternative viewpoints are in position to exercise their greatest influence.[15]

What forces shape the sociology of race? What impels crisis, insurgency, reform and consolidation? I have already noted a rough correspondence between conflict over race and the field of sociologyÕs attempts to address the broad societal demand for explanations. But clearly something more problematic has been at stake in the US where race was concerned, for over the entire course of the past century the field has moved only gradually and incrementally toward a recognition of the breadth and depth of the US (not to mention the global) racial problematic. Deep social crises and traumatic societal upheavals have been required to demonstrate that sociological attitudes toward race could be altered, even incrementally. Not unlike US society as a whole, the field has maintained a default position of benignity vis-a-vis race, operating in what may be characterized the Òas ifÓ mode:

¥    As if American democracy were not sharply called into question by US racial conditions;

¥    As if the US rise to global power did not have significant racial dimensions;

¥    As if the founding scenarios of US society Ð conquest, settlement, slavery, and immigration Ð were not fundamental racial traumas;

¥    As if those themes were somehow relegated to the past, not constitutive of periodic social upheavals, both in a larger political sense, and in terms of the fieldÕs attempts to explain them.

By recognizing the presence of this ÒdefaultÓ mode, we can better understand the seemingly small shifts the sociology of race has undergone, even as previous conceptions have been cast aside. These revisions have by and large been brought about by the actions of the racial ÒothersÓ themselves, helped along by their representatives and allies within the field itself. It is this combination of periodic rejection of the dominant sociological paradigm by those whom it purportedly describes, and the efforts of sociologists themselves to make sense of the new situation, to craft a new and more effective account of race, that I describe as Òthe dark side of the force.Ó


As the field was organizationally consolidated (roughly from the turn of the 20th century until the 1920s) it was dominated by the biologistic paradigm, whose affinities were social Darwinist and eugenicist. The initial pre-eminence of the biological account of race was largely residual. A long meditation on the meaning of racial identity and difference had accompanied and indeed shaped modern intellectual life from the Enlightenment to the dawning 20th century. This body of thought was preoccupied with the ÒnatureÓ of race: corporeal form, intellectual capacity, and physical beauty were among its key themes; these were all characteristics deemed to be intrinsic and intractable. German idealists, English empiricists, French philosophes, and US founding fathers such as Jefferson and Franklin all expatiated at length on these matters. As the human sciences developed in the 19th century, race was investigated (after a fashion) through such methods as cranial capacity measurement and phrenology (Gould 1981; Gilman 1985; Mosse 1978). European authorities like Lapouge and Broca continued to exercise influence over early 20th-century sociologists of race. Indeed, LapougeÕs ÒOld and New Aspects of the Aryan QuestionÓ appeared in the AJS in 1899, in some respects channeling Gobineau into American sociology at the fin de siecle, and foreshadowing the linkages between eugenics and fascism.[16]

James McKee writes that

Throughout the first decade of the [20th] century, race still fell within evolutionary theory and the vocabulary of race reflected that: [American] Journal [of Sociology] articles spoke of civilization and savagery, of advanced and backward races. ÒCivilizationÓ defined the highest stage within social evolution; the lesser stages of development were Òbarbarian Ò and Òsavage,Ó and people of African origin were declared to have come from a savage culture (McKee 1993, 29).

This was Òcommon-senseÓ evolutionism, but it intersected well with the social Darwinism and eugenicism that constituted racial science in this epoch. At the turn of the century eugenics was nearing the height of its influence.[17] Although biologistic theories about race long predated 19th-century science, they acquired new credibility with the ascent of evolutionary theory after Darwin. The term ÒeugenicsÓ was coined by DarwinÕs cousin Francis Galton with his 1869 book Hereditary Genius. The evolutionist approach to race was also supercharged by the claims of Spencer regarding the social significance of racial instinct, and the social Darwinism of Sumner among others. Further influences proceeded from the everyday debates of the times.[18]

Eugenics offered a seemingly far more objective, quantitatively sophisticated methodology for the study of racial matters than had previously been available in the social sciences. Indeed it is to eugenics that we owe the introduction into sociology of inferential statistics, calculus, and the concept of regression to the mean (Marks 1995; Zuberi 2001; Kevles 1985). Eugenics deeply influenced all the social sciences; it was embraced not only by mainstream psychologists, historians, anthropologists, and other academics, but also by many feminists and socialists who saw in it a rationality and commitment to science that contrasted with the residual superstition of older ways of thinking about population, sex, and such social problems as education, public health, housing, and especially crime and deviance (Rafter 1997).

In the US eugenicist thought was most centrally applied to issues of immigration, but also operated in debates about poverty and race. How was the US to deal with the hordes of immigrants arriving around the centuryÕs turn from racially ÒotherÓ areas of the world -- Jews, Greeks, Italians, and Slavs, not to mention Asians: in effect all the worldÕs Òothers,Ó its non-English-speaking, non-Protestant, huddled masses?[19] How were blacks, now emancipated and citizens (at least in theory), to be regarded? There were strong affinities between eugenics-based viewpoints and American nativism, as there were between eugenics and anti-black views.[20] The 1916 publication and wide circulation of Madison GrantÕs The Passing of the Great Race signified a general trend toward immigrant exclusion on the grounds of ÒnaturalÓ racial hierarchy.[21] William Graham SumnerÕs social Darwinism probably best exemplified this trend (Sumner 1963). Edward A. RossÕs work (1914; 1920, 59-70), though more nativist than social Darwinist, also reflected some of these biologistic presumptions.[22] A host of early sociolocial writings and debates treated race as a ÒnaturalÓ phenomenon.

Biologistic understandings of the sociology of race were competing with cultural ones by the 1910s. In part this was an outcome of the insurgent sociology being produced by black writers and researchers at this time. Du BoisÕs voice reached social scientific readers (albeit only sproradically), both through publication in the AJS and in the Annals of the American Academy of Social and Political Science. His The Philadelphia Negro was published in 1899: this was an entirely pathbreaking work that combined urban and labor sociology, studies of what we would now call social stratification, criminology, the sociology of religion, and historical and political sociology as well. The bookÕs formidable empirical commitments far outstripped anything else written during that epoch, and anticipated Chicago urban studies by two decades or more. But it received little attention.[23] The Souls of Black Folk (1903) did better, selling particularly to black readers; some sections of the book had appeared previously as articles in The Atlantic and elsewhere.

An early pragmatist as well as racial radical, Du Bois had become a sociology professor at Atlanta University in 1897, while still working on The Philadelphia Negro. He remained at Atlanta until 1910, producing with the help of students and associates a steady stream of empirical studies on black institutions (religious, educational, economic, etc.), on the social conditions of black folk, particularly in the South, and on US racial dynamics. Although not without flaws and constantly limited by inadequate resource availability, the Atlanta studies remained the most empirically detailed and sophisticated sociological analyses of racial conditions available in the US until the arrival in the South of ParkÕs black Chicago graduates (notably Charles S. Johnson)[24] in the late 1920s and 1930s.

During this period as well there was a significant growth in sociological activity at black colleges and universities. To list only a few of these developments: at the Hampton Institute the Negro Conference was created under the leadership of Thomas Jesse Jones, where it continued for two decades. Hampton was also the institutional base for the research journal The Southern Workman, which from 1903 to 1935 published empirical research that paralleled Du BoisÕs Atlanta University studies. At Howard University the mathematician Kelly Miller established the Sociology department in 1895 and taught there for forty years; the Howard department came to include such crucial black sociologists as E. Franklin Frazier and Alain Leroy Locke.[25]

Racial biologism was confronted during and after WWI by a range of phenomena it could not readily explain: most centrally the newly apparent agency of racially-defined minorities, whose widespread urbanization, incorporation into the industrial working class, and incipient political mobilization clearly exceeded the logic of the old paradigm. This was the era of the Harlem Renaissance, the Garvey movement, and The Crisis.

As a result a Òcultural turnÓ began to take hold in the sociology of race. The culturalist trend appealed to many mainstream sociologists disaffected with social Darwinist and Spencerian evolutionism, and dismayed by the intractability the biologistic paradigm assigned to race. So racial themes and race itself now began to be recognized as Òsocial problems.Ó Initial challenges to biologism were timid, merely replacing its overtly "natural" framework with one based on concepts of cultural backwardness and disadvantage. These were handicaps, matters that could be transformed, but only gradually, over many generations.

Early tendencies in this direction were evinced in the work of Franklin Giddings and Howard Odum. Giddings had been active in shifting the biologistic racial paradigm towards issues of instinct, proposing a racial theory based on the concept of "consciousness of kind." A quantitatively oriented, postivistically-inclined thinker and committed evolutionist, Giddings became the first professor of sociology at Columbia (in 1894). He grounded his sociology of race in a four-stage philosophical anthropology, of which only the final stage (the "demogenic") was seen as fully civilized. Many human "types" had not yet attained this stage; indeed Giddings saw evolutionary differences as besetting society even in its most modern configurations, and necessarily generating inequalities of various types. Giddings's notions of instinct had a strong commonsensical quality; they may still be observed today in popular explanations about such matters as racial segregation ("like cleaves to like," etc.) and in laments about the so-called "self-segregation" phenomenon among racially-defined minorities.[26]

The shift from accounts based in supposedly inherent biological characteristics to theories grounded in concepts of instinct was not only symptomatic of a declining biologism, but also signified the expanding explanatory ambition of the field. Here was an early appearance of a social concept of race, though obviously the sociality that an instinct-based theory could recognize was still limited. Instinct remained a nearly natural concept; it still signified something intrinsic and largely unalterable. But there was a shift here too: that something could be explained by social patterns and structures that gave rise to it over time: "folkways" for example.

This early recognition of the sociality of race is visible in the work of Howard Odum, who suggested that black isolation from the dominant (i.e. white) culture was profound enough both to forestall "civilizing" influences and to preserve uniquely black (but also implicitly backward) cultural characteristics. Odum's Social and Mental Traits of the Negro (1910) was originally a dissertation completed under Giddings. His later work on southern black music and folk tales simultaneously chronicled the complexities of African American life in the Òblack beltÓ and documented its isolation. A committed social reformer and sometimes embattled white racial "moderate" in the segregationist South, Odum looked at black culture with real attention and respect. Yet his preoccupation with folk traditions tended to reify the racial separatism linked to Jim Crow, and to minimize the extent to which an oppositional black modernity was emerging in the US -- and in the South -- in the early decades of the 20th century. Thus we can find in Odum's work foreshadowings and hints both of the "separate development" arguments of black nationalism and of the "culture of poverty" arguments that would stress black "disadvantage" as an explanation for inequality in the 1960s. His cultural sociology of race was able to retain a good deal of the old framework of racial hierarchy that had earlier been a mainstay of the biologistic paradigm, while dispensing with some of the overt racism inherent there.

In fact Giddings, Odum et al were by no means devoid of a paternalistic racism of their own. The very designation of African American relationships and institutions as ÒfolkwaysÓ -- implicitly premodern and sociohistorically retarded -- depreciated and dismissed the black (and indigenous, and colonized, and immigrant) presence in the modern world. These leading (and most other following) scholars remained blithely ignorant of black political activity as well as black sociological research and analysis. Nor did they generally understand "other others" -- Asians, Latin Americans, indigenous people, Arabs, and so on -- as capable of self-activity, collective or organized, in civil society. Needless to say, conflict over inequality, political and civil rights, and the meaning of race did not preoccupy this viewpoint.

During the 1910s and 1920s debates over race and culture expanded significantly throughout the social sciences; these debates deeply affected sociological thought on race. Three crucial developments that must be noted, necessarily far too briefly in this essay: the advent of Boasian cultural anthropology as a challenge to the physical anthropology that then dominated the field; the development of IQ testing in psychology under Lewis Terman, a process that was first linked closely with eugenicism and the Òfeeble-minded," and then later adopted its own version of culturalism in the quest for an ÒobjectiveÓ measure of intelligence; and the seemingly definitive vindication of slavery in American academic history with the publication of Ulrich PhillipsÕs American Negro Slavery in 1918.

Franz Boas's work was devoted above all to the claim that cultural variation among distinct peoples could not be ranked hierarchically or classified along a scale that ran from civilization to savagery. Boas sought both to counter nativist and eugenicist positions in the public sphere, and to rethink cultural anthropology so as to surpass such positions. He bequeathed a remarkable anti-racist, though of course somewhat uneven, legacy. His contributions were based upon decades of work at Columbia and through the American Museum of Natural History, where he had to coexist (and contend) with various eugenicist stalwarts, politicians, and trustees. In the anti-racist annals of American social science, Boas's contribution is exceeded only by that of Du Bois. He trained dozens of influential anthropologists (among them Hurston, Freyre, Benedict, and Herskovitz), and deeply reoriented the field in the US.[27]

Intelligence testing, first developed by Binet in France during the 1890s, was employed by psychologist Lewis Terman to sort military recruits during WWI. Terman, along with such other early influential psychologists as Robert Yerkes and Carl Brigham, linked racial difference (by which was meant southern and eastern European migrants as well as US blacks) to differences in ÒIQ,Ó thus reinforcing Galtonian arguments. Justice Holmes invoked this racial "science" as late as 1927 in the Buck v. Bell case, to justify an order of coercive sterilization of a Òfeeble-mindedÓ white girl from the rural South. Later, in the face of concerted arguments from such prestigious figures as Walter Lippman, Terman collaborated with anthropologist Alfred Kroeber to design IQ tests that were supposedly Òculturally neutral.Ó Debates over "hereditary genius" (that is, intelligence) resurface steadily, most recently in the controversies sparked by Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve (1994), a book that focused on putative differences in intelligence and their supposed correlation to race.[28]

PhillipsÕs account of slavery as a benevolent institution caring for uncivilized and culturally backward blacks, and of the South as falling prey to merciless and money-grubbing northern capitalists and carpetbaggers who invaded under the cover of Reconstruction, summarized and justified the cause of southern irredentism on a national scale. The romance of the noble "lost cause" achieved a degree of acceptance (among whites at least) that has still not been entirely reversed, despite Du BoisÕs masterpiece of refutation Black Reconstruction in America (1935) and a flood of revisionist historical studies of slavery that were produced during and after the 1960s. The "invaders" were shown by Du Bois to have included numerous black and white schoolteachers (many of them Quaker and Methodist women), thousands of northern blacks who saw themselves as returning from exile to minister to a homeland devastated by war and suffering, many Radical Republicans intent on fostering land reform and political democracy, and not incidentally a great many ex-slaves who had emancipated themselves through resistance (unarmed and armed) during the course of the Civil War. This alternative viewpoint on Reconstruction remained unnoticed, despite the efforts of Du Bois et al, until the 1960s; it was swept away by Birth of a Nation and the thousand other irredentist accounts, both academic and popular, that flooded the popular imagination and the academic marketplace, especially after Phillips's book (Blight 2002).


The wide-ranging debates about race in the first few decades of the century focused their attention -- despite great variation in their political orientations and commitments to racial (in)equality -- on the issue of cultural variation across racial categories. All displayed a diminishing commitment to the biologistic model of racial difference. This culturalist approach to race acquired ever-greater weight in sociology during the 1920s, notably in the work of Edward Reuter. An early population specialist and lifelong race theorist, Reuter's positions overlapped to a considerable extent with the emerging perspective of Robert Ezra Park and his group of students and associates at the University of Chicago. Reuter emphasized "culture contact" and race-mixing as dynamic processes that shifted the social dimensions of "the American race problem" over time. He situated US racial patterns in a global context, influencing Park (his work The Mulatto in the United States [1918] was his dissertation, directed by Park). [29]

Park's importance in developing the sociology of race can scarcely be exaggerated; he is eclipsed by few figures besides Du Bois. Notably, he only slowly detached his position from a belief in Òracial typesÓ (a quintessentially culturalist viewpoint) and from the highly deterministic Òrace-relations cycleÓ he had charted while supervising a field research projectin Hawaii.[30] Still ParkÕs humanistic and personal anti-racism contrasted sharply with most of his contemporaries. His early journalistic work had put him directly in touch with southern black poverty and the horrors of imperial rule in Africa. At Chicago his group consolidated their pragmatist approach over the 1920s and 1930s, first by rejecting biologism for a more sociocultural approach, and then by developing their views on the agency and capabilities for collective action inherent in racially- (and ethnically-)[31] defined minority communities.

Park resolutely insisted on placing US racial dynamics in a global and historical context, at first emphasizing "culture contact" as Reuter had done, but later situating that theme in the context of empire-building and colonialism, as well as linking racial conflict to nationalism (Park 1950).

ParkÕs work on race, the city, empirical methods, and cultural contacts was initiated at roughly the same moment. His students became accustomed to treating the city as a vast sociological laboratory. Chicago was also the first top-ranked sociology department to admit significant numbers of racial-defined minority graduate students. Such leading early black graduate students as Ira De A. Reid and Charles S. Johnson would be followed later in the department by such notables as E. Franklin Frazier and Oliver C. Cox, among others. In some ways reinventing the pragmatist sociological wheel that Du Bois had constructed in Philadelphia and Atlanta,[32] the Chicago department modernized and democratized the sociology of race, albeit in uneven ways. Chicago became identified not only with a new racial sociology but with an approach that addressed such matters as urbanism, immigration, and imperialism (the Òracial frontierÓ) with far greater effectiveness than its predecessors. The resurgent racial reaction and nativism of the 1920s Ð visible in widespread anti-black rioting, anti-immigrant legislation, deportation of thousands of immigrants in consequence of the Palmer raids, and the disgraceful demonstration of hundreds of thousands of KKK members at the Capitol in Washington DC, also disturbed the disciplineÕs progressives, for whom Chicago was headquarters.

A renovative approach to immigration also characterized the pragmatist sociology practiced in Chicago during these years. Over three years (1918-1920) Chicago sociologists W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki published their five-volume study The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, which significantly reconceptualized the sociology of migration.[33] This enormous project combined a great deal of primary data with an unprecedentedly humanistic account of migration. Although they weren't primarily concerned with race, Thomas and Znaniecki's work still broke new ground by dispensing with the racism common in contemporary work on immigration. They theorized their subjects as world-aware agents who comparatively assessed their situations in Central Europe and Chicago, using political, economic, and cultural criteria. This was a quite different perspective on the "huddled masses"; Thomas and Znaniecki should be seen as the founders of today's sophisticated sociology of migration.

In rethinking race via the pragmatist tradition, the Chicago ÒSchoolÓ was returning this uniquely American philosophical complex to its roots, which lay in abolitionism and the reactions of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (he of Buck v. Bell) and Charles S. Peirce to the Civil War and its aftermath. Pragmatism also shaped William JamesÕs attention to problems of agency in social psychology and John Dewey's concern with the practical problems of fostering and maintaining a democratic public. (Menand 2001; Joas 1993; West 1989; Bulmer 1984; Abbott 1999; Feffer 1993). The work at Chicago, linked on the one hand to this primary US philosophical tradition, and on the other to American progressivism, represented a tremendous infusion of realism and attentiveness into the field of sociology.

But the Chicago approach to race also remained limited. ParkÕs aversion to political sociology and insistence on value-free methodology, always a chimera in social scientific research, inhibited the effectiveness of Chicago sociology as racial critique. Racial inequality and injustice were not seen as outcomes or objects of state policy, but as phenomena of civil society. Lacking a focus on the racial state, Park (and to varied extents the Chicago researchers he mentored) argued that racial conflict itself would generate egalitarian and inclusive pressures; this was the essence of the "race relations cycle" (Lyman 1972, 27-51). Political alliances with progressive whites, feminists, the labor movement, or even among racially-defined minorities themselves were not considered viable; this view may have descended from Park's association with Booker T. Washington. Park's sociology of race also tended to analogize US racial struggles with the European national conflicts he had observed during his graduate school days in Heidelberg. In his view the European model of "ethnocracy" (Persons 1987, 79-83) paralleled US racial stratification, explaining both prejudice and discrimination (whites' defense of their privileged status) and the ineluctable pressures of assimilation (blacks and other minorities overcoming the cultural disadvantages imposed by slavery and exclusion).

Still, Park and his students managed to validate racial conflict as an engine of social change and an essential component of American democracy. They recognized the agency of the racially subordinated and oppressed, and indeed understood it as a species of nationalism. Their departure from the generally static and structurally determined sociology of race that Chicago had inherited constituted a dramatic innovation, an important reform in the field. The combination of all the developments I have just enumerated (and many more factors I cannot examine here, such as the centrality of micro-level work at Chicago as developed by Mead and extended and modified by Blumer) Ð revitalized the sociology of race in numerous ways. In particular the ÒSchoolÕsÓ emphasis on an empirically-driven approach to race brought new attention to issues of variability, agency, and conflict among racially-defined groups. Work at Chicago at long last incorporated at least some of the insurgent insights pioneered by Du Bois -- long relegated to sociologyÕs margins because of his radicalism as well as his race -- into the disciplinary mainstream.

Despite numerous limitations, Chicago sociology attended to race in a far more nuanced, respectful, and democratic way than had its mainstream predecessors. Chicago scholars talked to blacks and Asians, trained black researchers, and paid attention to the complex sociohistorical environment in which race operated. However unevenly and tendentially, Park, Thomas, Wirth, Blumer et al broke with the biologism and the unquestioning white supremacism that had characterized the field before their arrival.

By the 1930s the pragmatist sociology of race was losing authority. Numerous factors were responsible for the changes underway. A major social-psychological turn in the 1930s, the rise of quantitatively-oriented survey research,[34] and most centrally the onset of the Depression reoriented the field's mainstream, rendering less attractive Chicago's preoccupations with the urban, immigration, and group conflict/accommodation. On the margins of the field Marxist currents gained influence: here interest in race continued and even grew, but these approaches centered on labor, inequality, and class in general, thus narrowing the scope of racial studies.[35] To be sure, the influence of the Chicago "school" remained, helping to shape at least one more epochal study of the Chicago urban landscape, St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton's Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. This mammoth community study that appeared in 1945 remained very much in the pragmatist tradition, devoting extensive attention to the self-organization of the community its authors named "Bronzeville." With its emphasis on economic life, family structure and ties to the South, education, housing, etc., Black Metropolis evoked the tradition, not only of Park and Wirth's Chicago sociology,[36] but also of Du Bois's The Philadelphia Negro, the founding work in American pragmatist sociology. Black Metropolis was in many respects the last hurrah of the Chicago sociology of race.

Chicago sociology had provided a comprehensive account of race, however imperfect and uneven, especially as concerned the United States. This approach was at once interactional;[37] local/urban/national; and situated in a global field of population movement, culture contact, and empire. But at the same time, in good pragmatist fashion, it was decentered and subject to the interests, identities, and interventions of the conscious actors it studied. Chicago sociology was relatively non-theoretical, with the exception of those theories we would now consider "middle-range": such were Park's "cycle" or Blumer's symbolic interaction. Chicago's incipient holism, its lack of a fundamental, unifying conceptual frame,[38] and its openness to conflict, opened the way for the structural-functionalist account in the US, at least as much as did any importation by Parsons, Shils, and others of Weber and Durkheim (the usual reason given for structural-functionalismÕs rise).


Meanwhile the field's center of gravity moved east from Chicago to Columbia and Harvard, where during the 1940s and 1950s the structural-functionalist paradigm would attain the dominant position in sociology. Not only was the pragmatist stress on conflict and agency Ð especially as seen in its Chicago version Ð incompatible with the political and cultural unity demanded by wartime conditions, but sociology was proving itself useful to the powers, corporate[39] and state-based,[40] that wielded most of the resources the field needed to operate, first in depression, then in wartime, and then in the "twilight struggle" of the Cold War. The New Deal-sponsored work on labor conditions and cultural matters that had shaped sociology in the 1930s gave way to wartime government research: oriented to planning, military recruitment, and shifting demographics and opinions in the US.

Structural-functionalism's rise with the onset of World War II also seemed to surpass Chicago's pragmatist approach to race. Whereas the US sociology (including the then leading Chicago department) had been roiled by conflict over the US entry into the WWI in 1917, WWII inspired no such discontent or criticism in the field. Like every other profession, the field of sociology harnessed itself to the war effort, an enterprise that (after Pearl Harbor, anyway) encompassed left and right, rich and poor, white and black. With their focus on social integration structural-functionalism's chief architects aspired to a disciplinary consensus never before achieved. [41] They tended to ignore or dismiss radical tendencies (Marxism most notably), and assiduously sought to incorporate a wide range of social conflicts in their effort at systematization.

Race relations (no longer understood as racial "conflict") was no exception. The structural-functionalist approach was notable for its racial­ liberalism and integrationism. The Chicago sociology of race had viewed integration (or more properly, assimilation) as the end-stage of a prolonged process of conflict and accommodation whose realization in the US remained a long way off. Chicago's successors in Cambridge and Morningside Heights were considerably more sanguine about racial progress. This may be explained, not only by the appearance of highly influential new work (notably the Myrdal study; see below), but also by the shifting experience of race relations, especially in the 1940s. An increase in racial solidarity (in the Durkheimian sense) accompanied the War, and achieved some theoretical function, so to speak, at least in early structural-functionalist thought. Well into the 1960s that approach seemed to inform and support the post-WWII civil rights movement; indeed structural-functionalism may be characterized as the paradigmatic expression of the civil rights movement in the sociology of race. The chief spokespeople for structural-functionalism -- Parsons, Merton,[42] and Robin Williams among others -- wrote extensively and effectively about race, analyzing prejudice and discrimination.

Racially, the War mobilized every sector of society, finally bringing an end to the Depression. The War provided racially-defined minorities with industrial employment, entry into the armed services, and a degree of social inclusion they had previously lacked. It fomented black, Mexican, and Puerto Rican migration from the sharecropping plantations of Dixie (and Texas, and Arizona, and Ponce) to the industrial North, the Midwest, and the developing West. It diminished the poverty and suffering of the depression years, and tendentially narrowed the gaps and tensions that had previously divided racially-defined groups. Not that the War was an all-out effort for racial inclusion and equality; in practice it was a more contradictory affair, racially speaking, for the US. The Atlantic War was democratic, tolerant, and inclusive; the Pacific war was rife with racism toward the "Japs." This racism was imported into the domestic milieu by a ferocious bigotry, which culminated in the notorious 1942 Executive Order 9066 and its internment of US Japanese-Americans.[43] No comparable outrage was committed against German- or Italian-Americans, although there were more than a few detentions in those communities as well.

The structural-functionalist framework generally stressed the unifying role of culture, and particularly American values, in regulating and resolving conflicts. This approach was notably in evidence in respect to the sociology of race. It converged with the argument of the Myrdal study, An American Dilemma, which appeared in 1944. I use the verb "converged" because it is difficult to say that the work of Myrdal, a Swedish parliamentarian and social democrat as well as a social scientist, was greatly influenced by that of Parsons et al. More likely the reverse -- Parsons was a racial liberal and Merton had been involved in civil rights activity in his undergraduate days[44] -- but in any case­ the consensual political climate of the war years provided an appropriate moment for calls for racial reform. This was a point Myrdal made clear in his book's concluding pages, pointing out the inconsistencies and contradictions inherent in a racially exclusionary and discriminatory society's leading a war for democracy.

Myrdal's book was perhaps the single most influential work ever published in the sociology of race. His central thesis about the discrepancy between racial injustice and Òthe American creedÓ was deeply linked to mainstream liberalism, racial gradualism and the ideal of racial assimilation. The product of an enormous group effort in which a great many sociologists were involved,[45] An American Dilemma also reflected its author's extensive observations and inquiries in African-American social settings, much of which was undertaken with the aid and guidance of political scientist and neo-Marxist (as well as future diplomat and Nobel laureate) Ralph Bunche. Myrdal's sympathy with American blacks and vast documentation of the injustices visited upon them did not result, however, in a denunciation of US racism, perhaps because he resolutely sought to address the American "mainstream," perhaps because he undertook his project under the shadow of WWII, which despite all its limits and illusions he still properly understood as a struggle for democracy, and perhaps because his patrons at the Carnegie Foundation and elsewhere would not have accepted so radical a critique, especially in wartime (Jackson 1990; Southern 1987; Stanfield 1985). So, rather than presenting his "dilemma" as something endemic and foundational in US society and culture, he framed racism (a word he did not use) as an aberration, a retardation and obstacle besetting the higher virtues of US democracy. He combined this account with a Fabian faith in progress over the historical medium- to long-term: the theory of "cumulative and cyclical development" that he was later to apply to the global problem of economic development (Myrdal 1963). He also presented assimilation as an unproblematic objective of racial reform, a position that surely differed with the views of many of his black informants.[46] In short Myrdal's devotion to the cause of racial reform -- the product of many determinations and influences -- drove his project at its most fundamental level. This treatment resonated very deeply with the structural-functionalist perspective.

Another major sociological study that tackled race issues at this time was Stouffer et al's The American Soldier. Research for this project was initiated in 1941 with War Department/Department of Defense support; it was published in 1949-1950 (Stouffer et al 1949-1950; see also Merton and Lazersfeld 1950). Stouffer et al devoted significant attention to racial attitudes in the wartime military, and to the experiences of the over one million black members of the US armed forces. In its explicit examination of the tensions of racial segregation and the aspirations for racial progress that characterized the wartime armed forces, The American Soldier strongly paralleled the Myrdal study, which had preceded it by some five years. In Stouffer et al's interviews, white soldiers continued to express their Negrophobia, while blacks articulated their expectations -- as they had in WWI -- that their sacrifices in wartime would be recognized and rewarded later. Stouffer et al suggested that the War reduced the degree of white racism. While not a vacuous claim, the extent of this meliorism has since been called into question. To be sure, the armed forces remained segregated, various race riots (and even gunbattles) took place on US bases, and US servicemen of color were often discriminated against and assaulted, sometimes even while in uniform.[47]

Although Myrdal's was the predominant voice in the 1940s sociology of race, Stouffer et al's influence was also significant, especially since the latter's work appeared at roughly the same moment that the US military was finally desegregated. Both studies departed from the conflict-oriented approach that had largely informed the sociology of race into the 1930s. Viewed in conjunction with other mainstream sociological work of the period (notably MacIver, ed. 1949) these works must be seen as definitively introducing an integration-oriented perspective on US race relations into mainstream sociology.

While recognizing the gravity of segregation and racial prejudice, the structural-functionalist view of race consistently stressed the integrative qualities of US society; thus the overlap of the two uses of that term "integration" -- one that summarized the key civil rights demands of the era, and one that framed sociological explanations in terms of social unity and commonality -- is more than a casual synecdoche. Deep-seated conflicts were not amenable to the structural-functionalist account; at most they could appear as "social problems," or be understood as having "latent" functions (Coser 1956) of an integrative sort. An understanding of race and racial injustice as foundational elements in US society and culture (not to mention as world-historically significant issues), was not possible within this viewpoint, which thus tended to marginalize radical accounts such as those deriving from the Duboisian tradition, anticolonialist and pan-African thought, or Marxism.

Once properly reconceptualized as symptoms of the tensions inherent in societal self-regulation, however, racial matters could be understood as amenable to reform. Racial conflict received little attention in Parsons's early work, but after the appearance of An American Dilemma he began writing more about race. Drawing on Allport, and focusing largely upon micro-sociological phenomena, Parsons began thinking about prejudice as a problem of values (i.e., white values) in the late 1940s. The edited work Toward a General Theory of Action (Parsons and Shils, eds. 1951) contained a substantial essay by Allport taking this approach.[48] Parsons begins the essay ÒFull Citizenship for the Negro American? A Sociological Problem,Ó written for The Negro American (Parsons and Clark, eds. 1967) at the height of the civil rights struggle, by arguing social-psychologically. He recognizes the values-conflict that exclusion and the experience of white prejudice engenders in blacks, echoing MyrdalÕs diagnosis of the Òdilemma.Ó A reform-oriented transition is underway, he suggests, in which inclusion is first advanced by legal action, then by politics, and finally by state-based guarantees of social citizenship and even redistribution of resources (Parsons 1967, 718). The informed reader must have struggled with this even in 1967, notably with its underestimation of the white resistance -- from overt "backlash" politics on down to limited reform -- that such a program would face, and indeed was already confronting "up North" as well as "down South."

Looking back on Parsons's account of race, what is most striking is his ungainly combination of sympathy (Òmoderate,Ó to be sure) with the civil rights movement and his striking unfamiliarity with the nonwhite world. He does manage some criticism of white prejudice and discrimination, but he depicts US Òrace relationsÓ as undergoing a steady progress toward inclusion of blacks, a condition which he seemed to think was on the verge of accomplishment in 1966. A deeper interest in black life and thought, however, eludes him.[49]

Parsons's co-editor was the eminent black psychologist Kenneth B. Clark, whose work in The Negro American took a much less rosy view of mid-1960s US racial politics.[50] That edited collection appeared roughly simultaneously with Clark's book Dark Ghetto (1965) in which he began to reassess what had been a lifelong commitment to integration.[51] Clark's analysis of black exclusion and white racism invoked the "internal colonialism" framework; his influential book anticipated Blauner's important radical analyses (1969; 1972) that extended and popularized the concept several years later. Clark had been the first tenured black professor at City College of New York, where he began teaching in 1942. He is perhaps best known for the influence his early work on internalized prejudice (the famous "doll experients" experiments carried out in collaboration with his wife Mamie Phipps Clark) had on the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision. But his social psychological approach to racism and black identity, both collective and individual, has shaped thinking about racial "identity politics" more generally, right down to the present day. In rough parallel to Du Bois's trajectory, Clark's early work envisioned racial progress as occurring through integration and the extension of rational and democratic norms to US whites; we can see his affinities with the Myrdal model, as well as with Parsons's attempted systematization, with this lens. But his doubts were already visible in the mid-1960s and became more pronounced throughout his vast later ouevre. These led him to more radical -- and in some respects more "nationalist" -- positions as similar tendencies gained increasing traction in the black community.

At its apogee the structural-functionalist approach to race sought to meld (or incorporate) sociological thought into a different kind of nationalism -- the maintream, US kind (Bell 1964; Gouldner 1970). Not long after sociologyÕs embrace of civil rights came a new round of racial anomalies: above all, the black power revolt and its cousins, brown power, yellow power, and red power. In addition race began to appear as a global issue, not just a US domestic problem. Earlier sociological paradigms had recognized this better than the post-WWII approaches did: for all their limits, the biologistic approach had located race in the sphere of "development," and the Chicago pragmatists had seen its intimate connections with imperialism.

During the later 1960s structural-functionalist sociologyÕs heavy hitters encountered the limits of their double-edged integrationism. The larger panoply of post-WWII racial issues -- the crisis of the old European empires, and the suppression during the 1940s and 1950s of radical (black and racially-mixed) organizations opposing continuing colonialism in Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia Ð exceeded racial moderatesÕ framework: the paradigm could not grasp these conflicts for the deeply racialized issues they were, both on their native soils in Africa, Asia, and Latin America but also as they were mirrored in movement activity at home.

SociologyÕs leading lights were cold warriors; they had taken up the civil rights banner at a time when segregation, lynching, and discrimination against racially-defined minorities had become deep embarassments for the US. Did Parsons read Fanon or even Du Bois? Did Merton consider the sociology of African development proposed by his one-time junior colleague Immanuel Wallerstein? Did Kingsley Davis -- who wrote on population in South Asia, comparative urbanization, and the sociology of the family and reproduction in global perspective -- ever address anticolonialism? According to Lipset at least (1994), these leading figures, and many others as well, came to sociology after youthful involvement with socialism and communism. No doubt they were nervous in the late 1940s and 1950s; this was quite logical: many of them were being watched.[52]

From the vantage-point of the present, racial dynamics can be seen as deeply structuring all these issues. But during the 1950s and 1960s racial issues appeared largely to be US domestic problems. They were not to be confused with the battle against communism. Racial integration was supported while the purges and witch-hunting that stigmatized and disemployed some of the field's most active advocates for racial justice were condoned, at least in part. [53] The major figures associated with the structural-functionalist paradigm of race did not oppose the Vietnam war or consider its racial implications. King's 1967 denunciation of the war from the pulpit of New York's Riverside Church was condemned by such "moderate" sociologists of race as Daniel Moynihan, as it was by such "moderate" civil rights leaders as Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young. In the 1960s such figures as Milton Gordon and Nathan Glazer combined support for the "moderate" tendencies in the civil rights movement and rejection of "negative" discrimination (the exclusionary kind), with denunciation of "positive" discrimination (aka affirmative action).[54] Thus they prefigured or perhaps launched the neoconservative racial reaction and the "colorblind" resurgence of the post-civil rights era (Steinberg 1995).

And sure enough, racial radicalism did dismiss the significance of integration, both the movement kind and the functionalist kind. To the consternation of the racial "moderates" and structural-functionalists, that radicalism, redolent of the 1930s, reappeared in the later 1960s. It posed a discomfiting question: how much integration -- in both the sociological sense and the racial sense -- was American society willing to deliver?

The elective affinity between movement-oriented racial reformism and the sociological critique of racial prejudice and discrimination was real but not permanent. Reformism made sense in the period before Brown and continued to represent a vital political current until the mid-1960s or so. The assimilationism advocated so unequivocally by Myrdal and the integrationism put forward by Parsons and Clark, however, were soon exceeded by the vast agenda that meaningful racial reform entailed. This was a point made forcefully by the new wave of race riots beginning in Harlem in 1964, by the assassinations of Malcolm and Martin, by the resurgence of black nationalism and the "black power revolt," and by the doomed US defense of neocolonialism in Asia. Although Parsons, Merton, and other moderates tried valiantly to advocate an incrementalist and integrationist view of race and civil rights, by the later 1960s the reassertion of a conflict-oriented sociology of race (Ladner , ed. 1973) and the emergence of identity politics were the key problems confronting the sociology of race. Structural-functionalism was ill-equipped to face this challenge, though many of its key approaches would resurface again in the 1970s under the banner of neoconservatism.


By the later 1960s the civil rights paradigm had been ruptured in sociology as it had in American politics. Views of race were divided between a social movement paradigm that criticized the civil rights reforms of the 1960s as inadequate and tokenistic, and a neoconservative paradigm that called for ÒcolorblindnessÓ despite comprehensive and continuing racial stratification in US society. All the standard sociological subjects were in play, and debated, between the two antagonistic positions, which we may once again label, in good sociologese, the ÒintegrationistÓ v. Òconflict-basedÓ views. On the one hand, urban riots, radical anti-racist movements, significant waves of state-sponsored racial repression, neocolonial foreign policy and military intervention in the "third world," and deepening ghettoization and inequality at home, all seemed to negate the civil rights movement's accomplishments. On the other hand, overt racial prejudice seemed to be declining, US imperial projects were losing ground both in the jungles of Southeast Asia and in the face of popular protest at home, and middle-class racially-defined minorities, at least, were experiencing heightened mobility. By the 1970s, in a virtually unprecedented development, civil rights laws and practices were coming under fire from the political right as Òreverse discrimination,Ó and forceful claims were being made that the US was entering a "postracial" era of "colorbindness" and meritocracy.[55]

These contradictions were effectively captured in what was probably the most thorough survey of racial beliefs ever undertaken in US sociology, Schuman et al's Racial Attitudes in America (1997 [1985]). This book remains notable for its recursive commitments: the authors relate their findings to historical trends informed by political conflict, cultural developments, and shifting concepts of identity; they also seek to distinguish between repondents' professed attitudes and their applied beliefs, their "attitudes in practice." This refinement of Merton's (1949) distinction between prejudice and behavior, expresses more than the frequently noted "disconnect" between expressed racial attitudes and underlying practice; pondering the effective socialization of their respondents to racial attitude research (where research subjects conform to post-civil rights norms of tolerance), Schuman et al question the methodological effectiveness and accuracy of racial attitude research.[56]

As organized American sociology ended its first century, a prolonged period of irresolution and paradigm conflict continued in the sociology of race. To grasp the unresolved state of the sociology of race at the turn of the 21st century is to consider race from a political sociological point of view. What has been the outcome of the racial reforms extracted by social movements from various regimes -- both in the US and globally -- over the tumultuous post-WWII decades? In part as a consequence of the civil rights and anti-apartheid campaigns, as well as anti-colonialist and indigenous rights struggles,[57] the sociology of race underwent a shift toward a new social movements paradigm. This approach drew upon neo-marxist political economy, organization theory ("resource mobilization" etc.) and cultural studies to propose a "political process" approach to the sociology of race (McAdam 1982; Morris 1984; McAdam et al, eds. 1996). Invoking postmodern concepts such as "contested racial meanings" and returning to pragmatist sociological ideas of "role-taking," stigma, and Duboisian "double consciousness" (Omi and Winant 1994; Winant 2001; Kelley 2003; Balibar and Wallerstein 1991; Hall 1980; Dawson 2001), the Ònew social movementÓ approach sought to understand the radicalization of the racial justice movements of the post-civil rights, postcolonial, and even post-apartheid (after 1994) period.

The movement influence (and movement critique) in these works was palpable. Notably, significant attention was devoted to "intersectionality" -- the complex linkages among racial, gender-based, and class-oriented forms of domination and exploitation. Some examples: the prevalence and attitudes toward miscegenation and mixed-race identities were analyzed as indices of racial rule and resistance to racism, as well as instances of divergence and conflict among feminist, anti-racist, and working-class movements (Collins 2004; Higginbotham 2001; Romero and Stewart, eds. 1999). Race and gender were studied as key determinations of labor regimes and citizenship structures in the US (Glenn 2002).

At the same time, however, the partial but important effects of civil rights reform in palliating racial injustice, permitting some desegregation and upward mobility, limiting if not eliminating racial discrimination in employment, education, immigration, and cultural production (and other areas as well), had tangible consequences for the sociology of race. Advancing arguments for a neoconservative paradigm, this current -- also quite vast -- analyzed US racial dynamics in a manner that often seemed to suggest a structural-functionalist approach. Beginning with a largely policy-oriented body of work critiquing affirmative action and welfare policy (Glazer 1975; Murray 1984; Sleeper 1997; Patterson 1997, Thernstrom and Thernstrom 1997), neoconservatism developed from roughly 1970 into a center-right political project with a growing mass base. Its centerpiece was the claim that, confronted by protest and by the civil rights movement's insistent reminders of American values -- "I Have a Dream," etc. -- US society had moved decisively though imperfectly toward racial integration and toward a mainstream, post-racial ideology based upon the idea of "colorblindness." Movement orientations were now anachronistic or worse: they advocated Òreverse discriminationÓ and practiced "victimology" (McWhorter 2000). Drawing on long-standing black conservative traditions (some of them "nationalist" in their own right), on free-market economics (of another "Chicago school," that of Friedman, Hayek, Becker et al), and claiming a post-civil rights orientation of their own, neoconservative writers made significant headway in the sociology of race.[58] By the later 1990s neoconservatism had ÒgraduatedÓ from postracialism to postimperialism: its chief interests were the consolidation of a Ònew American empire.Ó

Everything seemed uncertain in this emerging post-civil rights political and intellectual climate. Old problems once stressed by the pragmatists resurfaced: ParkÕs linkage of race and empire, and BlumerÕs connection between prejudice and racial hierarchy, to pick just two. Du Bois's pan-Africanism reappeared as 3rd worldism; Garveyism reappeared as Afrocentrism. Even debates on biologistic views of race returned: the neoconservative bible The Bell Curve (1994) received intense criticism from sociologists (Hauser 1995; Fischer et al 1996; Fraser, ed. 1995) and in critical racially-oriented sociologies of science, genomics, and health (Duster 1990, 2001; Nelkin and Tancredi 1989). Neoconservative assaults on affirmative action contended with with spirited defenses and attempted reframings of such policies (Thernstrom and Therstom 1997; Massey et al 2002; Kahlenberg 1996). Such leading figures in the field as William J. Wilson argued that race was "declining in significance" (Wilson 1978), proposing a class-based (or class-reductionist) view of race. Wilson's attempt to reconcile the social movement paradigm (with its redistributionist core) and the neoconservative paradigm (with its blame-the-victim framework) necessarily cracked under the pressure. His position was grounded, not in an argument that racial inequality was disappearing, but in a strategic orientation he described as social democratic (Wilson 1999).[59] This view made too many concessions to the developing neoconservative consensus of official "colorblindness." It tended to minimize the ongoing (and in some ways deepening)[60] racial inequality that accompanied (and indeed was reinforced by) the neoconservative "colorblind" position.

So we are in a quandary, we sociologists of race: as the 21st century begins, we lack a dominant theoretical paradigm of race. Although this situation has all the characteristics of an interregnum, it is far from a peaceful one. If the neoconservative viewpoint continues to gain ground in the field, that can only be as a result of larger political developments: the evisceration of the welfare state with its attendant contempt for the poor and commitment to incarceration as a social policy, the reversion to empire now being urged vis-a-vis Islam and the Middle East,[61] or the rise in Latino population and influence, which stokes nativist impulses (Huntington 2004; Brimelow 1995) not unknown in sociology.

But speaking intuitively and recalling the experience of attending recent annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, I find the prospect of a recrudescence of the racial right in the discipline of sociology rather unlikely. However beset by uncertainties, the sociology of race remains movement-oriented. This can be attributed to the deep influence of the postwar black movement. I have argued elsewhere that the US racial upsurge was but one manifestation (albeit a very important one) of a global convergence of egalitarian and democratic currents in the sphere of race, a political "rupture" or "break" that was only contained with great diffculty over the latter decades of the 20th century (Winant 2001). By no means has the influence of this "break" yet disappeared from the field of sociology.

But that racial upsurge was certainly contained: both as a global and domestic political force. It was incorporated in the US and elsewhere in a range of "postracial" political hegemonies, of which US "colorblindness" is but one variant.[62] It has undoubtedly made some gains in sociology as well: not only on the right, where a "colorblind" view is upheld by more scholars than the Thernstroms; but also on the left, where an antiracist humanism that dismisses the utility of the race-concept is acquiring influence (Gilroy 2000). If a reversion to the sociological integrationism of Parsons et al is not in the cards (under neoconservative auspices or any others), neither is a resurgence of the social movement-oriented racial radicalism of the black power (and brown power, yellow power, red power) era.

Neoconservative claims that we have entered a postracial era are vitiated by the omnipresence of race-consciousness and the continuities of structural racism: by almost every conceivable indicator researchers can bring forward, the same racial inequalities that existed in the past persist today, modified here and there perhaps, but hardly eliminated and not even much reduced in scope, especially in terms of black-white disparities. This is not the place to inventory the data, but whether we look at wealth/income (in)equality, health, access to/returns to education, segregation by residence or occupation, rates of surveillance or punishment by the criminal "justice" system, or the many other indicators that compare racial "life-chances," we find patterns strikingly similar to those of the past. The sorts of inclusionist reforms sought by Myrdal and the civil rights "moderates" who became neocons have simply not materialized.

Meanwhile the radical demands of the great anti-racist movements of past decades have also been damaged by the cunning of history. Largely nationalist and class-based, these positions come up short in an age of globalization and diaspora, when racially-defined "peoplehood" is spread across the planet and hard to express (not to mention to organize) in traditional nationalist terms. The decline of socialism, however prone to criticism the "actually existing socialist regimes" may have been, has hardly helped political programs calling for racial redistribution.[63]

So a full century after the American Sociological Society was founded, the quandary of race, the theme that claimed so much attention so long ago, stubbornly refuses to disappear. No new sociological paradigm of race has appeared in quite some time, as the field struggles -- and the nation and the world struggle -- with the ongoing racial crisis of the post-civil rights, post-apartheid, postcolonial era. The old has died, but the new cannot be born.



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[1] . While I cannot concentrate on these problems here, it is important to note that at its founding the American Sociological Society was composed almost exclusively of white men, that the participation of sociologists of color in the Society or in its successor organization (the ASA) of voices of color was limited until the rise of the racial movements of the 1960s, and that even today the field lacks a truly representational racial profile.

[2] . See Rusling 1987, 22Ð23.

[3] . The Philippines, though majority Catholic as a result of centuries of Spanish rule, also contained a substantial minority of Muslims. Religious conflict between invading Christians and colonized Muslims, a theme redolent both of pre-modern Europe and of our own time, has received relatively little attention in respect to the US conquest of the Philippines. For an exception, see Kramer, Paul A. ÒFrom Hide to Heart: The Philippine-American War as Race War,Ó unpublished manuscript.

[5] . The only sociologist to win a Nobel prize (1931).

[6] . Also largely ignored were such other black figures as Kelly Miller, professor at Howard University; Monroe Work, head of the Division of Records and Work at Tuskegee, who was the first black sociologist published in the AJS (in 1901); and William T. B. Williams and Thomas Jesse Jones at Hampton, who were instrumental in organizing and establishing The Southern Workman. This list could be extended considerably.

[7] . The term did not attain currency even in France until much later, however. Durkheim founded L'Annee Sociologique only in 1898, more or less at the same time as the AJS was being launched.

[8] . The fall of the Confederacy - the end of slavocracy and the death of the "noble cause" - is of course the fundamental text of the American right. See Genovese 1998. Du Bois addressed this issue in Black Reconstruction as follows: The chief obstacle in this rich realm of the United States, endowed with every natural resource and with the abilities of a hundred different peoples -- the chief and only obstacle to the coming of that kingdom of economic equality which is the only logical end of work is the determination of the white world to keep the black world poor and themselves rich. A clear vision of a world without inordinate individual wealth, of capital without profit and of income based on work alone, is the path out,- not only for America but for all men. Across this path stands the [American] South with a flaming sword (Du Bois 1977 (1935), 706-707).
[10] . Barrington Moore (1993 [1966]) made similar arguments, unfortunately failing to note Du BoisÕs pioneering work of 30 years before.

[11] . ÒThe discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of blackskins, signalized the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations with the globe for a theater. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain, assumes giant dimensions in England's AntiJacobin War, and is still going on in the opium wars with China, etc.Ó (Marx 1967, 351).

[12] . These ideas have enormous implications and evoke literatures far exceeding this essay's scope. On the sociology of slavery, see Patterson 1982; On antebellum white working class formation see Lott 1995; Foner 1995, For a comparative Caribbean-focused account see Stinchcombe 1997. Note also, finally, how early US tensions over the race/class dimensions in capitalist development also involved crucial dender-based elements: Foner's "free men," the Jeffersonian yeoman farmer or artisan, etc.

[13] . Or shall I say "Galtonian" concepts? See Zuberi 2001.

[14]. In my judgment the first view (Lyman and McKee's "failure of a perspective") is too harsh, and the second (Pettigrew's evolving "race relations") is too incrementalist as well as overly optimistic.

[16]. On these connections see Chase 1977.
[17] . Its fall would not come until the 1940s, when its association with Nazism became unavoidable. See Barkan 1992.
[19]. It goes without saying that the raciality of these peoples was unevenly theorized, to put the matter kindly. The present essay does not afford the requisite space to discuss processes of racialization or the social construction of racial categories. I have addressed these problems at length in other work, however. See Omi and Winant 1994, Winant 2001.

[20] . US eugenics also included a strong anti-Òwhite trashÓ component that condemned and sought to sterilize those it called Òfeeble-minded.Ó This form of racism had complex roots: in the plantation agricultural system, in the striving anti-provincialism of urban elites, and in Malthus and early capitalist political economy. See ChaseÕs (1977) discussion of the ÒJakesÓ and ÒKallikaksÓ families.

[21]. Though not a sociologist, Grant wielded influence as a principal of the American Museum of Natural History and friend of Thedodore Roosevelt. His book was probably the key intellectual force behind the restrictive immigration policy of 1924.
[23] . See Elijah AndersonÕs enlightening introduction to the centennial edition of the book (Anderson 1996); see also David Levering LewisÕs comments on the bookÕs production and reception (Lewis 1993, xxx).
[24] . Johnson received his Ph.D at Chicago in 1917. After studying the 1919 Chicago race riot (an assault on black neighborhoods by white mobs that paralleled dozens of others in cities around the country that year) and publishing The Negro in Chicago (1921), Johnson became research director for the National Urban League in New York. He arrived at Fisk University to become Professor of Social Research in 1927, and became the first black President of Fisk in 1946.
[25]. Kelly Miller, Professor of Mathematics at Howard, founded the Sociology Department there in 1895 and taught at Howard until 1935 when he retired as Dean of Arts and Sciences. A prolific author, MillerÕs book Race Adjustment (1908) sought to reframe the dispute between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. In a 1897 review of economist Frederick L. Hoffman's Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro, one of the leading eugenics-based works to argue for the innate inferiority of African Americans, Miller used census data to argue that HoffmanÕs claims were statistically flawed. See Miller 1897; Stepan and Gilman 1993.

[26] . See Tatum (2003) for a present-day social-psychological critique of this school of thought.

[28] . For more extensive discussion of this set of issues, see Chase 1977, Gould 1981, Fischer et al 1996, Fraser, ed. 1995.

[29] . Reuter's The American Race Problem first appeared in 1927 and was revised in 1938, reflecting the author's developing racial liberalism. The trajectory of his writings from his (1918) The Mulatto in the United States to the revised edition of The American Race Problem is quite striking. In the former book he argues in traditional fashion that the "white element" in mixed-race persons' identity provides them with their highest and most civilized features, while the "black element" embodies primitive and even animalistic characteristics; in the latter he stresses the American principle of "fair play" for the Negro, in some ways anticipating Myrdal. Reuter's final academic position was in the Department of Sociology at Fisk University.

[30] . ParkÕs four-stage ÒcycleÓ beginning with ÒcontactÓ and ending with ÒassimilationÓ tended to neglect variability and agency, key points in any pragmatist approach to race. Although he did recognize the importance of conflict and incorporated a global perspective, his model also tended to conflate racial groups with the national ones whose struggles for independence he had observed during his doctoral study years in Germany. In his later work Park repudiated the Òcycle.Ó

[31] . The distinction between race and ethnicity is a complex matter, requiring more space than I can devote to it here. Let it suffice for the present to associate racial difference with the corporeal or ÒphenotypicalÓ attributability, the Òcolor-codingÓ and ascriptive assignment of racial identity that operates on the common-sense level in everyday life; and let us identify ethnicity with the cultural distinctions that attend group differences in respect to language, religion, national origin, and tradition. It should be noted, finally, that there is a substantial overlap between these two set of attributes in practice, owing to the flexibility of both categories. Ethnically-defined groups are often racialized, as has occurred among the former Yugoslavs, in Britain and Ireland, in Nazi Germany, in Rwanda and Burundi, and in many other instances. Racially-defined groups can be ethnicized (or de-racialized), as has occurred in the US with many European immigrants who were formerly classified as racially "other," but who are now firmly defined as Òwhite.Ó See Omi and Winant 1994.
[32] . Both Park and Du Bois were deeply influenced by pragmatist philosophy, and indeed were both students of William James at Harvard. Du BoisÕs pragmatist orientation, as well as that of other black contemporaries as Alain Locke, has received attention only quite recently. See West 1987; Fraser 1998.
[33] . During that same year Thomas was dismissed from the University under a morals charge that was never proven, and that his supporters claimed was retribution for his pacifism and support for the feminist movement. Despite his difficult exit from Hyde Park, Thomas was elected President of the American Sociological Society in 1926.

[34] . Especially after the establishment at Coumbia University (in 1940 )of the Bureau of Applied Social Research under Paul Lazarsfeld.

[35]. A renewed interest in Marxism led black sociologists -- often Chicago-trained (Frazier, Johnson, Cox) -- to "bring class back in." Other black academics -- Howard University political scientist Ralph Bunche for example -- also flirted seriously with Marxism. Du Bois's Black Reconstruction -- certainly his most Marx-oriented work, appeared in 1935.

[36]. St. Clair Drake, the book's co-author, was the pioneering black urban anthropologist. Horace Cayton was a protean figure who went from being a deputy sheriff in Seattle (where his father -- an ex-slave -- was a leading black Republican newspaperman), to working in the Chicago Sociology Department under Wirth and Park, to a position as special assistant to Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, to serving as the director of a WPA research program (he was recommended for that post by W. Lloyd Warner), to writing Black Metopolis over the early 1940s. See Hobbs 2002.

[37]. This refers to the whole Cooley/Mead/Blumer tradition, itself fraught with debate and dispute.

[38]. Such as the AGIL framework Parsons would provide, or the classical theories' central themes: class struggle/forces v. relations of production in Marx; rationalization in Weber, and so on.

[39] . Lazarsfeld's work on public opinion helped reshape the marketing strategies of modern media (ratings) and politics (polling). His partnership with Frank Stanton of CBS typefied postwar collaboration between sociology and business.

[40] . The New Deal-sponsored work on labor conditions and cultural matters that shaped sociology in the 1930s gave way to wartime government research, oriented to planning, military recruitment, and shifting demographics and opinions and opinions in the US.

[41] . To refer in this blanket way to "structural functionalism" is to agglomerate a wide variety of perspectives rather harshly. Parsonian sociology with its regulatory cultural norms and emphasis on systematicity is only poorly equated with vast range of inquiry pursued by Merton, who give far more latitude than Parsons had to conflict and uneven social integration. The functionalism espoused by Kingsley Davis hardly comported with Merton's or Parsons's work either. Without the lattitude here adequately to explore these variegated currents, I still argue that they shared a view -- descended more centrally from Durkheim than from Weber -- that emphasized the self-regulatory and integrative features of modern social structures, and that consequently minimized the continuity and fundamentality of key social cleavages in US society. Race was certainly such a cleavage.

[42]. See Merton 1949 for an early effort to develop MyrdalÕs insights within a broadly structural-functionalist framework sympathetic to civil rights.

[43] . The "relocation" received relatively little sociological attention during the War. For some distinguished exceptions, see Thomas and Nishimoto 1946; Thomas, Kikuchi, and Sakoda 1952. See also Broom 1943.

[44]. Robert Merton, personal communication.

[45] . Myrdal's secondary authors were Arnold Rose, an American sociologist, and Richard Sterner, also a Swedish economist. Political scientist Ralph Bunche was Myrdal's guide and "native informant," so to speak, in two sometimes perilous research voyages through the wartime South. Among the project's other collaborators were sociologists E. Franklin Frazier, William F. Ogburn, Samuel A. Stouffer, Edward Shils, and Dorothy Swaine Thomas. Leading black intellectuals Sterling Brown, Doxey Wilkerson, Alain Locke and Kenneth Clark were consultants as well. W.E.B. Du Bois was kept at a discrete distance from the effort at the insistence of Frederick Kappel, the Carnegie Commission organizer of the project, whose racial politics were hardly progressive. Myrdal's involvement was sought to provide some degree of hoped-for social science objectivity. See Southern 1987; Jackson 1990; Stanfield 1985.

[46]. Black reaction to the Myrdal volume varied significantly. E. Franklin Frazier heaped praise upon the work. Myrdal, he wrote, Ò...revealed a remarkable facility for getting the feel of the racial situation in the United States. His objectivity was apparent from the very beginning in his relations with Negroes. They were simply people to him....Ó (Frazier 1945, 557). Ralph Ellison, however, criticized Myrdal for his assimilationism:

...[A]side from implying that Negro culture is not also American, [he] assumes the Negroes should desire nothing better than what whites consider highestÉ. It does not occur to Myrdal that many of the Negro cultural manifestations which he considers merely reflective might also embody a rejection of what he considers Ôhigher values.Ó There is a delusion at work here (Ellison 1964, 300-301, emphasis original).

[47] . For additional commentary see Kryder 2000; for a valuable fictionalized account, see Killens 1963.

[48]. This essay, ÒPrejudice: A Problem in Psychological and Social Causation,Ó is an early version of AllportÕs The Nature of Prejudice (1954), a work that was to have a significant impact in social psychology.

[49]. This tendency contrasts sharply with that of ParsonsÕs co-editor Kenneth Clark and the other black voices in the book (among them John Hope Franklin, Markin Kilson, St. Clair Drake, and even Whitney Young, Director of the National Urban League).

[50] . See Clark's introduction to the volume, titled "The Dilemma of Power"; see also John Hope Franklin's essay in the volume, titled "The Two Worlds of Race" (1967).

[51] . The Negro American was initially a two-issue collection published in the journal Daedalus. It later went through several book-length editions is to the 1967 Houghton Mifflin edition.

[52]. The scandalous McCarthyite harassment (and at one point, indictment) of the octogenarian Du Bois in the 1950s occurred without notable protest from within the field. FBI surveillance extended to such mainstream figures as Samuel Stouffer, Herbert Blumer, Robert Bellah, Robert and Helen Lynd, E. Franklin Frazier, Alfred McClung Lee, and of course C. Wright Mills. Some leading sociologists, we know, cooperated with witch-hunters, most notably Pitirim Sorokin; but most remained cautious, at least through the late 1940s and 1950s (Keen 1999; Lipset 1994). Mass dismissals did occur on occasion and surveillance was very widespread (Slaughter 1980). Particular attention was being paid to area studies: notably Russia and China, but also to the insurgent "third world" (Simpson, ed. 1999; for parallels in anthropology, see Price, ed. 2004). A striking aspect of a great deal of this late1940s-1950s academic repression and red-baiting was how much of it related to race. A major signal to the FBI, HUAC, and other similar agencies that a given scholar or teacher was ripe for purging, or at least needed watching, was that he or she participated in anti-racist activities or attended mixed-race events. A certain cold-war orthodoxy was mandatory; this in itself resulted in a muting of sociological criticism of US racism. For larger treatments of the links between the Cold War and the civil rights movement, see Dudziak 2000, Borstelmann 2003; Kelley 1999.

[53] . The battles of the McCarthy period of course engulfed the black movement as well, as Du Bois, Robeson, and others were reframed as pariah figures, and racial "moderates" strove to distance themselves from them.

[54]. In a later edited work, Glazer and Moynihan (1975) did try to address the comparative sociology of race (in their framework, ÒethnicityÓ). By this time structural-functionalism was effectively dead, though. Neoconservatism was emerging as its successor.

[55] . "My proposal for dealing with the racial issue in social welfare is to repeal every bit of legislation and reverse every court decision that in any way requires, recommends, or awards differential treatment according to race, and thereby put us back onto the track that we left in 1965. We may argue about the appropriate limits of government intervention in trying to enforce the ideal, but at least it should be possible to identify the ideal: Race is not a morally admissible reason for treating one person differently from another. Period" (Murray 1984, 223; see also Gilder 1981, Sowell 1983).

[56] . See Andrew Hacker's review (1988). The difficulties noted by Schuman et al have led more recent researchers to develop methods for testing the depth and sincerity of professed racial attitudes. For example, Sniderman and Piazza (1993)directed their interviewers to argue with respondents about affirmative action, so as to determine the degree of their commitment to their own beliefs.

[57]. And such allied movements as feminism, human rights, environmentalism, and gay liberation as well.

[58]. For criticism of these positions in sociology see Brown et al 2003; Winant 1998; Steinberg 1995.

[59] . Wilson's views on this matter overlapped (somewhat ironically) with those of legal scholar Derrick Bell, a founder of the "critical race theory" school that greatly influenced (and was influenced by) radical sociologists of race. Bell's "convergence hypothesis" suggested that progress toward racial equality for blacks only occurred in US society when the state policies desgned to achieve it also and immediately benefit whites. See Bell 1992.

[60] . See Massey and Denton 1993.

[61]. On the new imperialism see Gardner and Young, eds. 2002; Kagan and Kristol 2000. For an overview of neocon positions, see Kristol 1999; Gerson and Wilson, eds. 1996. On the racialization of Islam see Halliday 1999; Aidi 2003; Lamont 2000.

[62] . Other examples are European "racial differentialism" (Taguieff 2001 [1988]), the post-apartheid adaptation in South Africa of the ANC's "nonracialism" (Barnard and Farred, eds. 2005), and the reworking of Brazilian "racial democracy" to include limited commitments to "group rights" and affirmative action policies (Telles 2004).

[63]. Affirmative action lives on in various settings: in India, South Africa, and Brazil for example, as well as the US, where it has suffered significant setbacks. It remains a small gesture in the direction of redistribution, however. Reparations demands are also still extant, sparking community meetings in US ghettos and conferences on campus. They have also generated some high-profile lawsuits against major US corporations charged with having profited from slavery. Reparations as a global issue was a much-discussed topic at the UN World Conference on Racism that took place in Durban, South Africa in August, 2001.